Online Platform Helps Users Make End of Life Decisions
Boston-based digital health startup Cake has released an online platform designed to facilitate end-of-life planning for patients and caregivers. The platform prompts users to answer questions about their end-of-life wishes and provides them with follow-up tasks tailored to their specific requests. The program then stores the information collected on a secure, encrypted platform for use by loved ones, lawyers, and healthcare teams.
By the year 2060, the number of people in the United States aged 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million. As a result, the cost of healthcare continues rising, as providers and insurance companies try to find ways to care for this aging population. Many have been looking to find solutions to the many issues that we’re facing in this space.
Cake, a digital health startup based out of Boston, is hoping to become the leader in the space of end-of-life planning and advance care decisions. Their online platform makes it easy for individuals to make these types of decisions and store them in a secure system. The team understands that for many, it’s often difficult to make these types of plans for people they care about. Through their technology, they create a seamless experience for those hoping to make these important life decisions for themselves or a loved one”…
After signing up, users are taken through a streamlined process where they’re asked to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to prompts like ‘I want my funeral to be a celebration of my life’ and ‘I have a living will or advance directive.’ Depending on each answer, the platform helps to identify what types of decisions and services each user should pursue. Choosing end-of-life preferences ahead of time can help prevent financial losses, unwanted medical interventions, and conflict between loved ones.
To date, Cake has worked with some of the largest healthcare networks in Massachusetts, including Harvard Pilgrim and Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA. They also recently raised a $1.35 million seed round, with the hopes of expanding their reach and making end-of-life planning more accessible to all.
Cake cofounder Suelin Chen hopes that the plaform can help patients and families find ways to approach a difficult topic, and in doing so, empower patients to make their end-of-life wishes known. In addition, the platform prompts families to think about questions that may not occur to them otherwise, like whether or not a patient wants their social media profiles erased after death.
This is a challenging topic for most people. One question we asked ourselves was, where can we meet people so that people feel interested enough start? We thought that it was more important to get people in the door rather than pushing people to be totally comprehensive all at once, especially since it can be such an emotional topic for a lot of us.”…
In the future, Chen is hoping to make the Cake platform as accessible as possible, and in that process, to help destigmatize the topic of end-of-life. In the end, she believes that it’s inevitable that a tool like this will exist, and that having these critical choices in the cloud is essential.